Tuesday, February 02, 2016

I know less about UX than Evan Spiegel

A friend writes: "I have given up on thinking I know more about UX than Evan Spiegel." That's Evan Spiegel, the co-founder of Snapchat.

It's a great point. We product folks love to armchair quarterback user experience design that we don't get. And there's a ton I don't get about Snapchat. (Which, given my age, is certainly a feature of Snapchat, not a bug!)

Nothing amazes me as much as the ability of some product people to see as far into the future as Spiegel does. So far that even after using their product, I still can't explain quite what it is and why it's compelling.

E.g.: Pinterest, Slack, Medium.

Though with Medium i'd say it was partially due to poor brand communication -- that's the only one of these (including Snapchat) where i'm the target user. I think they should have written a prominent "What is Medium, anyway?" post and explained, "Medium is a blogging platform with the best WYSIWYG editor ever, where it's kinda one giant co-blog that steers traffic to whatever's popular, so you don't have to agonize over starting your own blog or how often you blog." Admittedly, that's still convoluted and hard to follow.

These are the opposite of, say, Uber, where 90% of people are convinced of its value on seeing that "whoah, Jane is summoning a cab via an app, and she can see it coming on the map! And it automatically charges her card with no end-of-ride mental calculations!"

So, what else has brought the future here so successfully, but so non-obviously?

Maybe the original Mac? Where people would like dress it in costumes and love it and they didn't quite know why?

Evernote makes perfect sense to me--I'm the quintessential user, and I'm sure they wish they knew how to charge me ten times as much without alienating new users. But it's completely opaque to most people. Same with Twitter.

And though I've made progress, I still don't really get what Pinterest is!

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